Musical opportunities at Suffield Academy are plentiful where students can participate in a wide variety of musical ensembles and vocal groups. Suffield offers private instruction for novice musicians in addition to those already well-trained with instrumental or vocal techniques.
The music faculty strives to develop each student's musicianship and performance skills. This is achieved through a vigorous performance schedule and through the integration of music history and music theory into each course. The music student's experience is enhanced by interacting with visiting performers, who prepare recitals and workshops, and by traveling to attend concerts. Each ensemble participates in regional festivals to gain exposure to other schools' ensembles, to receive adjudication, and to participate in clinics.
Suffield Academy maintains a state-of-the art recording studio and few independent schools offer similar facilities. The spacious recording room is large enough to record any size group, from jazz and rock bands to chamber ensembles. The room’s substantial footprint, significant ceiling height, and abundant reflective surfaces provide a flexible acoustical environment in which musicians can record with varying degrees of room ambience.
In addition to the dedicated studio space, the music department employs several portable recording systems. These systems can travel throughout campus for remote recording sessions. Projects recorded “on-location” can be brought to the main studio for editing, mixing and completion. The studio is home to the Music Production and Recording course. It also serves as a venue for recording and archiving performances of Suffield’s music ensembles, as a laboratory for composition projects and sound design for theatre productions, and as a setting for extracurricular recording sessions for Suffield’s student and faculty musicians.
Oskar Kvaternik ’16 from Slovenia is the first recipient of Suffield’s prestigious Gooch-Vincenti Scholarship. Oskar is an outstanding pianist, bass guitarist, and student of music theory and composition.
The scholarship was established through a generous gift from long-time Suffield faculty member Bradford C. Gooch. It provides tuition for a rising senior that excels in the arts—not just as a good artist, but also one with the potential to pursue a career in the field and whose passions and talents elevate the quality of artistic life in the Suffield Academy culture.
In creating the scholarship, Brad noted, “I don’t want it to be a ‘best-of-the-year prize’ but something for a student whose talent and passion knock your socks off, whose work gives off that special frisson of wonder and delight.”
In addition to honoring artistic excellence that elevates life at Suffield, Brad’s gift aimed to symbolize his personal love for Suffield Academy and recognize Mario Vincenti, who taught visual arts at Suffield from 1956 to 1994.